Updated: Feb 11, 2016 7:05 pm Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00)
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Thursday, Feb 11, 2016



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Activision Blizzard Financials; New CoD This Year

Activision Blizzard's Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2015 Financial Results are now public, reporting record digital revenue and saying that upon the completion of the King Acquisition, they will boast a half-billion users. This seems to also contain a new game announcement, as they say: "In Q4 2016, Activision Publishing plans to release an innovative new Call of Duty game from its studio, Infinity Ward, the makers of the Modern Warfare series." Here's word on all the money they made:

For calendar year 2015, Activision Blizzard delivered GAAP net revenues of $4.66 billion, as compared with $4.41 billion for 2014. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were $2.50 billion and represented a record 54% of the company’s total net revenues. The company delivered record GAAP earnings per diluted share of $1.19, as compared with $1.13 per diluted share for 2014.

On a non-GAAP basis, for the calendar year 2015, the company delivered net revenues of $4.62 billion, as compared with $4.81 billion for 2014. Non-GAAP net revenues from digital channels were a record $2.63 billion and represented a record 57% of the company’s total non-GAAP net revenues. Non-GAAP earnings per share were $1.32, as compared with $1.42 per diluted share for 2014.

PC Need for Speed in March

EA announces the new Need for Speed game will arrive on Windows PCs on March 17th or March 15th, depending on which part of the announcement you read, adding that Origin Access members will get access beginning on March 10th. They celebrate the news with a new trailer, and here's word:

The wait is over, Need for Speed is coming to PC on March 17th!

We’re incredibly proud of how good Need for Speed looks visually, a sentiment we know many of you share, and we’re excited to show you the game running at a higher frame rate. Seeing is believing so we’re hoping when you see and play Need for Speed running with an unlocked framerate and at a 4k resolution you’ll be just as excited as we are.

The extra development time has allowed us to create the definitive NFS PC experience. One of the burning topics of discussion amongst our Community has been the inclusion of Manual Transmission - we can now confirm this will be in the game when Need for Speed launches on PC.

With the release on PC we're also adding steering wheel support for a selection of wheels from Logitech, Thrustmaster and Fanatec. As with Manual Transmission this is a decision taken based purely on Community feedback. We’re dedicated to bringing you the best Need for Speed experience possible and your feedback has been playing a huge role in that.

When Need for Speed launches on PC it will also contain all the improvements and tweaks we’ve made up to now, including both the Icons and Legends updates from day one. The Showcase update is currently scheduled to arrive on PC shortly after launch.

The PC version of Need For Speed will be releasing on March 15th. If you’re an Origin Access member, you can play the game early for a limited time, starting March 10. Not a member? Join today.

Continue here to read the full story.

No New Assassin's Creed This Year

Just days after releasing Assassin's Creed Chronicles: Russia, Ubisoft announces they will not be releasing an Assassin's Creed game this year, obviously referring to a full AAA release, rather than a smaller project like Chronicles. Here's word:

This year, we also are stepping back and re-examining the Assassin’s Creed franchise. As a result, we’ve decided that there will not be a new Assassin’s Creed game in 2016. Since the release of Assassin’s Creed Unity, we’ve learned a lot based on your feedback. We’ve also updated our development processes and recommitted to making Assassin’s Creed a premier open-world franchise. We’re taking this year to evolve the game mechanics and to make sure we’re delivering on the promise of Assassin’s Creed offering unique and memorable gameplay experiences that make history everyone’s playground.

We’ll have more to share on all of the above soon. In the meantime, we want to say thank you to our millions of fans around the world for your continued support.

World of Warships Launches Team Battles

Wargaming announces plans to add a new seven-on-seven Team Battles mode to World of Warships, their MMO naval combat game. This will come in an upcoming version 0.5.3 patch for the game, and will be available to all players at level 12 or higher. This trailer introduces how this looks, and here's a bit:

Wargaming today announced the new battle type “Team Battles” for World of Warships will set sail in Update 0.5.3. This new battle type, which unlocks at account level 12, lets captains create an elite squadron of players, work with them to sharpen their skills, and then set out to decimate their opponents and rule the waves.

Taking the prestige of World of Warship’s naval combat to a new level, Team Battles are the domain of certain tier vessels, consisting of 7-vs-7 skirmishes. Players can have up to 10 people in their team (with three in reserve). They can also be recruited for up to three teams simultaneously, so there is always a new Team Battle waiting on the horizon. Team Battles will only be available during "prime time," a necessary restriction to ensure a competitive number of players are all in the queue.

“The fans have been asking for more forms of team interaction since we started developing World of Warships,” said Danny Volkov, World of Warships Development Director, Wargaming. “With Team Battles, we’ve listened to their feedback and created an arena where they can meet teammates, forge their perfect squad and take on intense battles with top players in their region.”

On a team’s journey to become the dominating force of the seas, they will advance through a number of leagues, battling towards a common objective, to improve their ranking. Through Team Battles, captains get their fill of high-level skirmishes and truly take their skills to the next level.

To learn more about Team Battles, please watch the video:

Continue here to read the full story.

More Free CONSORTIUM

There's another opportunity to get a free copy of CONSORTIUM: The Master Edition through GOG.com as developer Interdimensional Games is giving the game way to inspire support for their CONSORTIUM: The Tower Kickstarter to fund a sequel. The game is free for the next 48 hours, and those who already own the game there can receive a code to give it to a friend as a gift. Here's the plan:

Did you feel that? The iDGi-1 satellite has just opened another rift in time and space. And during this fortunate disturbance, GOG.com and Interdimensional Games Inc. joined forces and managed to secure a 48-hour time-pocket within which we can distribute as many FREE CONSORTIUM: The Master Edition copies as we like all over Earth! But this disturbance was triggered by another, equally interesting event: CONSORTIUM: The Tower, the sequel to the choice-driven sci-fi simulation, is on Kickstarter and you can help it become a reality with your support! So grab your free GOG copy before February 13, 1:59 PM GMT and then go for a tour through CONSORTIUM: The Tower. Or go at it the other way around. As within the games, the choice is entirely up to you.

The original CONSORTIUM was an innovative exercise in player agency through a procedurally-unfolding story. The experiment was a success and now Interdimensional Games Inc. hope to take it to the next level with CONSORTIUM: The Tower. This time, global peacekeeper Bishop Six finds himself in London, 2042, where a massive skyscraper has been taken over by terrorists while a snowstorm rages outside. Your job is to infiltrate the building, neutralize the perpetrators, and rescue the hostages in any way you see fit. Direct action, stealth, negotiation, sabotage - they are all viable options as the story will constantly change and adapt to your playstyle. The developers describe the experience as a blend between the original Deus-Ex and Die Hard. We'll hold them hostage to that promise!

Star Wars: The Old Republic Launches Anarchy in Paradise

EA announces the launch of a new expansion for Star Wars: The Old Republic called Star Wars: The Old Republic - Knights of the Fallen Empire, Anarchy in Paradise, an interesting title for a series that's more lacking in utopias than authority figures. This includes the ability to start a new character at level 60, a new ally mercenary, and a new subscriber rewards system with monthly perks. This launch trailer shows off some the new content this adds, and here's an explanation:

BioWare and Lucasfilm today announced the release of the next chapter in the episodic expansion story, Star Wars™: The Old Republic™ - Knights of the Fallen Empire. This chapter, Anarchy in Paradise, will be available February 11, 2016 and is the first in a series of seven new chapters that build on the personal story of the Outlander. Best of all, Subscribers of Star Wars: The Old Republic, receive all existing and future chapters of Knights of the Fallen Empire for free* for the duration of their subscription. New players can jump immediately into the evolving story of Knights of the Fallen Empire at Level 60 and experience BioWare storytelling in the rich Star Wars™ universe.

Anarchy in Paradise introduces a new ally, an infamous mercenary known as Firebrand. Her mission is to destroy the Eternal Empire by attacking Zakuul and crushing the seat of power, the Eternal Throne, by any means necessary. It will be up to the Outlander to decide just how far he or she is willing to go to beat the Eternal Emperor. Players will experience the grim consequences of their past decisions and feel the grip of the hand of fate on their dangerous journey.

BioWare also announced a new Subscriber Rewards program offering players a series of unique monthly in-game reward items themed to the HK-55 Assassin Droid:

Continue here to read the full story.

Battlefield Hardline: Betrayal Next Month

EA offers new details on Battlefield Hardline: Betrayal, one of the digital expansions first revealed as being part of the Premium season pass for the law enforcement shooter. This will bring new maps, weapons, and vehicles when it is released next month. This post has info and screenshots on the expansion as well as word on an accompanying patch that will bring some new content to the base game as well. Here are some details:

Here’s what’s on deck for owners of Battlefield™ Hardline: Betrayal…

  • Four intricate maps: Alcatraz, Cemetery, Chinatown, and Thin Ice
  • 7 new weapons
  • 2 new vehicles
  • Customize primary weapons and uniforms with the Gun Bench Super Feature, and test them at the Gun Range
  • New Assignments and Legendary weapon camos

In addition, all users will receive a base game update that includes 11 new weapons and new server presets. After the update, every Gold Battlepack you open may also contain a weapon license voucher – a Distinguished class item that unlocks an entire weapon license. Check the forums when the update is released for our official patch notes to learn all about the stability and usability improvements that will be included in this upcoming release.

Evening Mobilization

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

Into the Black

Link of the Day: Upgraded LIGO detectors spot gravitational waves. Apparently Einstein was smart.

Total War: WARHAMMER Empire Trailer

A new walkthrough video from Total War: WARHAMMER includes gameplay footage of the empire campaign in the upcoming Warhammer installment in the strategy series. Here's word: "Following the Greenskins Campaign Gameplay Video (https://youtu.be/vJUWImJUZrU) released last year, this new video provides a brief, work in progress snapshot of a campaign played as The Empire and an early look at some key gameplay mechanics such as character skill trees, The Empire ‘Offices’ panel, building & technology trees, character customization and a look at the forested hills of Reikland." Continue here to read the full story.

Blade & Soul Patched; Passes 2M Users

NCSOFT now offers a new Rising Waters update for Blade & Soul that adds new content to their recently launched martial arts MMORPG. They also take the occasion to inform us that the game has attracted more than two million players since its launch a few weeks ago. This previous announcement outlines the new endgame content in the Rising Waters update, which also marks the launch of the PvP preseason. Here's an overview of the news:

NCSOFT West today released its first content update for Blade & Soul, only weeks after its launch in North America and Europe. Titled Rising Waters, the update features three new pieces of challenging max-level PvE content that players can access after defeating Vice Admiral Poharan herself.

New content in Rising Waters includes Bloodshade/Nightshade Harbor, Mushin’s Tower - Floors 1-7, and five new Hongmoon Levels. Available as a 6 or 4 player Heroic dungeon, Bloodshade Harbor and its 24-player version, Nightshade Harbor, offers players new challenges against the evil Blackram pirates and Poharan’s boss, Admiral Hae Mujin. Players can also ascend Mushin’s Tower – a single player Heroic dungeon – for even more challenges and greater rewards on their path towards revenge. And finally, the new Hongmoon Levels will allow players to continue to gain experience beyond level 45, unlocking additional skill points to increase your character’s strength in combat.

This update will also mark the start of the PvP preseason, with new in-game UI to help players evaluate their skills and earn Zen Beans (the Blade & Soul PvP currency) from competing against other players. More information will be available in the future on the PvP aspects once Blade & Soul moves from preseason to Season 1.

To learn more about Rising Waters, visit: http://www.bladeandsoul.com/en/news/rising-waters-arrives-february-10/

Additionally, NCSOFT has confirmed that Blade & Soul has now surpassed 2 million players in the US and Europe, only three weeks since its official launch.

Hatred Developer's New Greenlight

A Steam Greenlight campaign for IS Defense seeks approval for a new game from Destructive Creations (thanks Eurogamer), the Polish developer behind Hatred, an isometric shooter that drew fire from some quarters over perceived insensitivity. They are not shying away from the potential for more flack, as you can see in the description:

The player takes the role of NATO’s stationary machine-gun operator, deployed to defend the shores of Europe. His task is to blast as many of the invaders as possible, until his glorious death. To do so, he has NATO support forces, his Machinegun and Rocket Launcher at his disposal. During the progress of this heroic defense, he gets the opportunities to upgrade his gear, his body and army rank – which affects the efficiency of the called support.

This game is our small side-project and is our personal veto against what is happening in the Middle East nowadays. As well as an attempt at resurrecting a pretty dead genre of games like „Operation Wolf” or „Beach Head” – in a state of the art, modern adaptation.

XCOM 2 Troubleshooting

There's a Basic Tech Troubleshooting FAQ on the 2K Games website with tips on getting better performance from XCOM 2, the recently released strategy sequel. They cover workarounds for some of the issues people are encountering, and say they are also working on fixes on their end. Word is: "We want everyone to have the best experience possible, and will continue supporting the title with upcoming patches." Thanks VG247.

CONAN EXILES Video Diary

A new video developer diary helps introduce CONAN EXILES, Funcom's recently announced open-world survival game set in Robert E. Howard's Hyborian Age. In the video the developer's offer a quick introduction to the game, which is good, because a slow intro would cause them to perish in the frozen wilderness. The game is to enter early access this summer, and the clip is accompanied by this outline of the project:

'CONAN EXILES' is an open-world survival game set in the brutal lands of Conan the Barbarian, the world's greatest fantasy hero. The game can be played on private and public servers, either in multiplayer or local single-player. You st! art out as an exile, one of thousands cast out to fend for themselves in a barbaric wasteland, and from there you must hunt for food, grow crops, gather resources, craft tools and weapons, and build a shelter.

You can also band together with other players to build entire settlements and fortified strongholds, and wage war against your enemies as you unleash your fury in savage, fast-paced combat that will see limbs flying and heads rolling. You can even align yourself with the Hyborian gods, building altars to their glory and sacrificing the bloody hearts of enemy players upon them to shift the balance of power in your favor. Players will also have to face the purge: a special event where NPC armies from the neighboring kingdoms sweep in to destroy the progress that the exiles have made. Will you stand together with your fellow players against the purge, or will you use it to your advantage?

Continue here to read the full story.

The Solus Project Video Diary

The story from The Solus Project is on display in a third video developer diary from this sci-fi survival game that's launching into early access next week. There's more on the official website, and the clip comes with this word on the plan:

The Solus Project takes place in a rich sci-fi universe during the 22nd century. Our solar system was ripped apart by a rogue star and humanity survives on a fleet of spaceships called the Prolus colony. With little fuel left and starvation on the horizon, Prolus command organizes a final desperate mission to find a new home for humanity.

The operation is called The Solus Project. Five small scouting ships are sent to five solar systems that are suspected of having habitable planets. Your craft has travelled for more than a decade and just as you arrive, disaster strikes. Of the entire crew, only you survive. As the only one left, mankind’s survival depends on you.

Is the planet habitable? Is it safe? You quickly discover more than you expected – a legacy of an alien race. Their ancient structures and machinery. Why do these aliens look almost like humans? And most importantly… why did they die?

The Solus Project is a narrative-driven survival experience. It tells a rich, linear story, something rarely seen in survival games, while maintaining an open sandbox gameplay and survival mechanics.

The Solus Project releases on Steam Early access on February 18th and on Xbox Game Preview on February 26th.

Continue here to read the full story.

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

  • Arctic Cooling Liquid Freezer 120 AIO CPU Cooler on HARDOCP.
  • CPU Cooler Roundup on TechSpot.
  • EVGA GeForce GTX 970 Hybrid Gaming Video Card on Legit Reviews.
  • G.Skill Ripjaws KM780 MX Keyboard on Hardware Asylum.
  • GIGABYTE GTX 980Ti G1 & XTREME GAMING on Vortez.
  • Phanteks Eclipse P400S Case on Hardware Canucks.
  • Samsung PM863 240 Gigabyte SSD on ocaholic.
  • Tt eSPORTS Poseidon Z RGB Mechanical Gaming Keyboard on Nikk Tech.

etc.

Out of the Blue

As Gamers Age, The Appeal of Competition Drops The Most. Strategy is The Most Age-Stable Motivation is an interesting study on the topic (thanks PC Gamer). I don't think I'm a typical game in many ways, and to go along with that, I still have a pretty strong competitive streak, though it is true that my multiplayer gaming has included far more co-op in recent years, so maybe there's something to this.

Aging Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Furious Space.
Warrior Slide.
Story: Lee Majors, Ted Raimi Join "Ash vs. Evil Dead."
Science: Adult Neurogenesis May Be Increased by Sustained Aerobic Exercise. Thanks Slashdot.
Media: Selfie Defense with Master Ken.
Golden Retriever Uses Bread To Catch A Fish. Thanks ViperFour.
Crazy couple takes their relationship to new heights.


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Wednesday, Feb 10, 2016

The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries This Month

Telltale announces to expect the first episode of The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries on February 23rd, though it will actually premier in an "extended preview event" starting on February 14th. Here's the plan:

The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries will premiere its first of three episodes, 'In Too Deep,' this February 23rd on PC/Mac from the Telltale Online Store, Steam, and other digital distribution services, the PlayStation®Network for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, the Xbox Games Store for Xbox One® and Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, followed by a release on compatible iOS devices via the App Store, and Android-based devices via Google Play and the Amazon App Store starting February 25th. The second episode in the miniseries, 'Give No Shelter,' will follow in the month of March, and conclude with the third episode, 'What We Deserve,' in April. All three episodes in the miniseries will be available for purchase at the cost of $14.99 USD or equivalent when the first episode debuts, including access to the second and third episodes as they become available.

In this premiere episode, 'In Too Deep,' Michonne joins Pete and his crew on the sailing ship The Companion as they cruise the coast for survivors and supplies. When a desperate signal for help draws them to a scene of horrific massacre, Michonne and the crew are lead further to the floating survivors' colony of Monroe, which may just be harboring the person responsible for the carnage.

The Walking Dead: Michonne - A Telltale Miniseries stars the iconic, blade-wielding character from Robert Kirkman's best-selling comic books, portrayed in-game by award-winning actress Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black). Haunted by her past, and coping with unimaginable loss and regret, the story explores Michonne's absence between issues #126 and #139 of the comic book. Over the three episodes of the miniseries, players will discover what took Michonne away from Rick, Ezekiel, and the rest of her trusted group... and what brought her back.

Ahead of its release, fans are invited to get an exclusive extended preview of the first episode of the series on Youtube.com/TelltaleGames this Sunday February 14th at 8:30pm EST / 5:30pm PST. The development team will introduce the series allowing fans to experience the first five minutes of the premiere episode, exploring Michonne's struggle to remain among the living while being haunted by her past.

EVE Online Adds Skillpoint Trading

CCP has released a February patch for EVE Online, updating their MMORPG with extensive changes, all detailed in these release notes. Most significant is probably a new feature to allow players to transfer skill points. This previous blog post has all the details on how this works, and here's an overview from their announcement:

Skill Trading is a new option for EVE Online players to use Skill Extractors to remove accrued skillpoints from one character in order to create an item called a Skill Injector. That Skill Injector can then be traded to another character--typically for in-game currency via the markets of EVE--and used to apply a pool of skillpoints to the second character, boosting whatever skill levels they want to apply the skill points to.

In essence, Skill Trading is trading character experience from one character to another, a particular bonus for any secondary (or “alt”) characters if a player’s main character has a surplus of skillpoints in areas he or she might not currently use. It’s also a way for any pilot to reassign skills and further craft their characters, accelerate supporting skills, quickly get into an Alliance’s fleet doctrine, or jump into a new ship class a bit quicker than waiting out the training time.

EVE Online players have long been able to sell whole characters to each other through a forum-based marketplace known as the Character Bazaar. With each sale comes the history of the character, its name, and possibly its assets--but also its reputation, good or bad. While there is still a place for characters to change hands in the bazaar, Skill Trading offers more granular control and flexibility over character progression.

The Flame in the Flood This Month

A The Flame in the Flood Wildlife Tips trailer shows off this "rogue-lite river journey," celebrating the news that this crowdfunded survival game will be released on February 24th. The Windows version is currently on Steam early access, and here's a bit on the game and its pedigree:

Pack your bags for a downriver journey of survival and self-reliance. The Flame in the Flood lands on Xbox One, PC and Mac on February 24, 2016.

The Flame in the Flood is a rogue-lite river journey through the backwaters of a forgotten, post-societal America. Forage, craft, outwit predators and brave the rapids as you make your way down the procedurally generated river.

Get lost in the fragile beauty of a forgotten world designed by veterans of both BioShock and BioShock Infinite, played to the tune of an original soundtrack composed by alt-country star, Chuck Ragan. Hunt, trap, and craft to not only endure, but survive.

Brave the dangers of the water as you seek refuge from the harsh realities surrounding you, accompanied by your trusted companion, Aesop. The ultimate wingman, your canine friend is as cunning as he is adorable, sniffing out and gathering the supplies essential to stay warm, stay fed, and stay alive.
Where will your journey take you?

League of Legends Dropping Dominion

Citing a problematically small active playerbase for the mode, Riot Games announces they are dropping the Dominion game mode from League of Legends after a four-year run as an alternative challenge for players of the MOBA. They describe the mode's death spiral that's prompting the move:

We want to support game modes delivering consistently engaging and competitive experiences. Fewer than 0.5% of players actively play Dominion and we’re aware some number of even that small population is still bots. We haven’t been supporting Dominion, and we’ve trapped ourselves in a vicious cycle where the queue isn’t large enough to warrant major attention, but falls prey to bugs and periods of imbalance from the introduction of new champs and items (which then drives down the size of the queue, and so on).

In the absence of our attention, matchmaking and game quality in Dominion varies wildly based on daily engagement. Because of how matchmaking works, the longer someone looking to play Dominion waits in queue, the wider the pool of potential foes the matchmaker can pull from -- with such a small population, Dominion games can match up widely divergent skill levels after long enough queue times. Unhealthy queues that force players to endure long waits with fluctuating match quality ultimately creates an overall poor experience -- one we take responsibility for.

We might have been able to break out of that downward spiral with more dedicated resources, but we chose Summoner’s Rift as the core League of Legends experience with its depth of gameplay, match pacing, and path to mastery. When it comes to the resources required to keep Dominion permanent and solve the inherent design problems and give it ongoing live balance support, we’ve consistently devoted them to Summoner’s Rift and related features because we felt they’d improve the overall League experience more.

Evening Patches

Evening Crowdfunding Roundup

  • Human- Fall Flat -- Steam Greenlight. "Human:Fall Flat is a quirky, open-ended physics-based third person puzzle and exploration game set in surreal, floating dreamscapes. Your goal is to escape the dreams of falling by solving puzzles with nothing but your wits and physics."
  • Wincars Racer -- Steam Greenlight. "Wincars Racer is a fast-paced online racing game with a strategy twist. It blends the instant fun from arcade racers with strategic and competitive features."

Gatherings & Competitions

Evening Consolidation

Evening Metaverse

Evening Tech Bits

Evening Safety Dance

Evening Legal Briefs

etc., etc.

Into the Black

Descent-Inspired OVERLOAD Kickstarter

Kickstarter campaign for OVERLOAD is now underway, seeking $300,000 to develop "the ultimate six-degree-of-freedom shooter" by Revival Productions, a developer looking to revive this genre they helped pioneer back when they helped create the original Descent back in their days at Parallax Software. The plan is to make this for Windows and consoles, but their first stretch goal of $350K will add Linux and OS X versions. Here's more on their background and the origins of this project:

In 1993, we founded Parallax Software to build our dream game, Descent. It was the first 3D game that allowed you to move, turn, and fire in any direction. The mind-blowing--and sometimes nausea-inducing--gameplay was matched by the technology behind it, which pushed the limits of what was possible in rendering, AI, and multiplayer. It was a milestone game that sold millions of copies and spawned two sequels.

Because of our desire to be close to family, Parallax Software eventually split to form Outrage (Matt Toschlog) and Volition (Mike Kulas). Outrage and Volition remained sister companies and shared in each other’s knowledge and expertise. We’ve remained close friends, but have always wanted to find a way to work together on a project again. The one project that we both really wanted to work on, that we couldn’t not make, was an all-new six-degree-of-freedom shooter.

In 2014, after years of talking about it, we began working on Overload. The core objective with the game is to take elements of classic 6-DOF shooters and use modern technology to push Overload to a whole new level. We’re thrilled with the progress we’ve made so far, but there is still a lot left to do, and that’s where Kickstarter comes in. We need your help to ensure Overload will be the ultimate six-degree-of-freedom shooter.

American Truck Simulator Demo

Steam now offers a playable demo for American Truck Simulator, allowing the chance to get behind the wheel of a big rig in SCS Software's transport sim sequel. Here's word on what this includes:

If you are still unsure whether to take the risk and buy the game for fear of technical incompatibility, we are happy to announce the availability of a free American Truck Simulator demo. Try it out to make sure the game will work on your computer before making the purchase decision. You can grab it from Steam now, just as the game itself.

The demo is limited by the number of jobs taken and only contains the state of California, but technically it's identical with the game itself. If you purchase the game after playing the demo, you can continue driving where you have left off, as the save game stored in the demo mode is compatible with the full game.

Cities Skylines Plans; Livestream

Paradox Interactive announces new gameplay features coming next week to Cities Skylines in the upcoming Snowfall expansion for the urban planning game, while also revealing new features coming to the base game via an accompanying free patch. They will begin a live stream showing off the expansion on Twitch today at 11:00 am Eastern Time. Here's the rundown on free changes coming in the patch:

In addition, Paradox has also detailed the features that will be added to Cities: Skylines for all players in a free patch on February 18, whether the weather-oriented expansion is purchased or not. All players will see the following additions:

  • Rain and fog-based cosmetic weather for existing maps outside the new “Winter” themed maps
  • A new Theme Editor for map modding, allowing players to create new Map Themes ranging from different terrain styles to incredible alien worlds; here is one such incredible alien world
  • Whoa cool!
  • Pretty cool, right?
  • An expanded UI for public transportation management
  • New Chirps from everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar
  • New Hats for everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar
  • Newfound respect for everyone’s favorite in-game social media avatar

METAL GEAR ONLINE DLC Announced

Konami announces Cloaked in Silence, the upcoming DLC for METAL GEAR ONLINE, the online component of METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN. The pack will come next month, adding Quiet, the previously teased new character, along with other new content. This will come alongside additional paid content as well as a free content patch that adds a new competitive map called SABOTAGE. Here's word:

Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. has announced a new DLC campaign for METAL GEAR ONLINE, the dedicated, squad-based multiplayer component of the best-selling METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN. Entitled ‘Cloaked in Silence’, the new content will be released in March 2016 and adds new maps, a new character and additional content to the multi-player experience.

‘Cloaked in Silence’ is an ongoing part of KONAMI’s commitment to continually enhancing the METAL GEAR ONLINE element. The downloadable content adds three new maps to the multi-player game:

  • Coral Complex: A dedicated Motherbase environment, allowing players to access tall towers, use storage containers and other internal areas as cover for tactical advantage. Coral Complex mixes open areas and a myriad of hiding opportunities.
  • Rust Palace: Set within Afghanistan, the Rust Palace is a large multi-level building. The skeletal nature of the decrepit ruin means that cover is scarce, and the internal areas are rich in dusty rooms and high-up sniping positions.
  • Azure Mountain: An outdoor plain under Africa’s baking sky. A small cluster of buildings offers scant cover, with only derelict walls and occasional scrubland surrounding the massive rock known locally as the Cradle of Spirits.

METAL GEAR ONLINE’s ‘Cloaked in Silence’ DLC also sees the debut of Quiet as a playable character. A buddy character familiar from METAL GEAR SOLID V: THE PHANTOM PAIN, Quiet is a legendary sniper who can take out distant targets with excellent accuracy. Quiet’s movement speed is extremely fast and allows for unique jumping abilities over high steps where a player would usually need a ladder. She can also temporarily cloak her visibility while sprinting to activate a boost in movement speed.

Continue here to read the full story.

HITMAN's Steep Specs

The Steam page for HITMAN now offers surprisingly steep system requirements for the upcoming continuation of IO Interactive's assassination series. Here's what they say it will take to run the game:

MINIMUM:
OS:
OS 64-bit Windows 7
Processor: Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 / Radeon HD 7870
DirectX: Version 11

RECOMMENDED:
OS:
OS 64-bit Windows 7 / 64-bit Windows 8 (8.1) or Windows 10
Processor: Intel CPU Core i7 3770 3,4 GHz / AMD CPU AMD FX-8350 4 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GPU GeForce GTX 770 / AMD GPU Radeon R9 290
DirectX: Version 11

Overwatch Progression Details

A new developer update video for Overwatch discusses what to expect now that beta testing of Blizzard's upcoming multiplayer shooter has resumed. Word is: "Game director Jeff Kaplan discusses what the Overwatch development team has been working on since the Closed Beta went on break in December—including a new game mode, new maps, a new player progression system, and a variety of improvements to our Private Game feature." There's also a new Player Progression Preview to outline how this aspect of the game will unfold. Here's a bit on that:

To this end, we've added a brand-new player progression system to the game, which gives you the ability to earn levels and unlock loot to customize the appearance, sounds, and other cosmetic aspects of your heroes—and it's available to check out right now in Phase 2 of our Closed Beta test.

Morning Crowdfunding Roundup

Gatherings & Competitions

Morning Interviews

Morning Consolidation

Morning Metaverse

Morning Tech Bits

Morning Safety Dance

Game Reviews

Hardware Reviews

etc.

Thanks Ant.

Out of the Blue

Happy Ash Wednesday! Glad I caught that one as it slipped past me that yesterday was Fat Tuesday. I guess this means I missed Mardi Gras, but I probably wouldn't collect any beads anyway, as in spite of El Nino, it's a little cold to be flashing my boobs these days.

Links: Thanks Ant and Acleacius.
Play: Blacksmith Lab.
Run Pinky Run.
Stories: This ‘Death Suit’ Makes Burials Eco- and Wallet-Friendly.
The iconic Boeing 747 is almost 50.
Science: Morocco Unveils A Massive Solar Power Plant In The Sahara. Thanks The Flying Penguin.
What Little Babies See That You No Longer Can.
The Science Behind Why You Get Hangry.
Media: Fastest Mobility Scooter - Guinness World Records.
Follow-up: Budget “bow wave” causes Air Force to cut 45 F-35s from purchase plans.
The Funnies: Savage Chickens.
Also, Savage Chickens.
Brevity.



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